The Aviva Premiership Rugby final may still be eight months away but youngsters from Bugbrooke RUFC are already counting down the days – thanks to their efforts and skill at last weekend’s Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.
On Saturday, Bugbrooke U11s took to the field for the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, hosted by Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens.
Not only did they get to strut their stuff in front of a host of onlooking Saints stars James Craig and Rory Hutchinson, but the players also secured the opportunity to appear at next May’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham, where they will take part in a special half-time parade.
More than 20 Under-11 teams took part in this Saturday’s grassroots rugby festival – which is celebrating its tenth anniversary year and has seen more than 70,000 children take part to date – with Bugbrooke loving every second.
“This was my first time playing in the Land Rover Premiership Cup – it has been a really good experience,” said ten-year-old Henry Wills.
“It will be great to go and walk on the pitch at Twickenham.
“It has been really special to play at Franklins Gardens too because it’s not something you get to do every day and I’ve really enjoyed spending the day with my teammates.”
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Bugbrooke U11 team coach Jason Boniface added: “I’m absolutely made up for the boys.
“An opportunity like this is just phenomenal. Huge credit must go to Land Rover and the incredible support they give to grassroots rugby.
“Going to Twickenham for many of the boys will be a lifetime dream.
“This is great exposure for Bugbrooke Rugby Club and I couldn’t be more pleased for everyone involved.”
Also taking part at the weekend but not quite making it to Twickenham were Old Scouts, BBOB, Old Northamptonians, Kettring and Rushden and Higham.
But Bugbrooke took the main prize and, as well as taking part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup Parade during next May’s final, they can also look forward to meeting a Land Rover rugby ambassador at Twickenham and hear which of them has won a club MVP award.
They got a taste of rubbing shoulders with rugby’s elite when they met Saints players on Saturday and Craig admitted he had been impressed with what he had seen, in particular stressing the importance of grassroots rugby.
“I actually didn’t play rugby when I was this young – I didn’t start playing until I was 13 so coming down watching the Land Rover Premiership Cup is a new and interesting experience for me,” he said.
“I think it’s important to have these sort of competitions. It’s a great way for the lads and a fantastic way to engage with young people and giving them a chance to play on our pitches before watching their idols.
“It’s been great watching some of the action and I’m sure it’ll be a day they’ll remember for a long time.”
For more information on the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup please visit: www.premiershiprugby.com/landrovercup